Saturday, September 24, 2011

The horse knows the way.

       I'm always shocked by how little we in advertising and marketing have learned in the last 100 years.

       Two months ago, a member of an online professional group I belong to asked a simple question: What makes a good ad?

        So far, she's had over 450 responses, and they're still coming in. Which is great, I suppose, except that they're all different. How can there be 450 answers to that question? Everything from "communication" kinds of answers, to the use of humor. Only one said salesmanship and persuasion, and that answer was mine.

        My students are quick to pick up on this idea, and understand that all advertising, in both traditional and new media, has to have the qualities of a good salesperson. Their personal experiences in retail have taught them they have to know their products and their customers, and be considerate, helpful, honest and sensitive to others. So do good ads.

        A recent study reported in Advertising Age found that 50% of all advertising is ineffective, and it's easy to understand why. By the way, that probably makes the other 50% super-effective because there's only half the competition.

        When will those 450 people learn? For example, look at the current BMW ads. Since we read our first ad, we've been trained to know exactly where to look for the product and brand name. We have to simply look at the bottom right for the logo, to learn who's talking to us. Research shows we certainly don't read to the bottom and then go to the top again. In the BMW ads, though, they have the logo hidden in clear view, at the top right in the ads. Why make an audience hunt that hard to find the advertiser?

       That's something my friend Marty Puris would never have done when he created the "ultimate driving machine" campaign that established BMW's branding. He had other things to accomplish. Such as convincing people what a great car a BMW is to drive.

       Maybe it should be a rule that all advertising people spend a year selling something. I think I know 450 people who could probably benefit a lot.


No comments:

Post a Comment